It is springtime on “The Ridge” and the orchards are in bloom. 

The Ridge is an agricultural area northwest of Grand Rapids. This time of the year is the most beautiful as the orchards are in bloom with apple, peach, pear and plum trees setting their crop for the year. The agricultural area northwest of Grand Rapids is called “The Ridge”. For many generations on the farms, May is the month of bloom in all the orchards.

Apple Bloom from The Ridge

Apple Bloom from The Ridge. Courtesy of Mary Rasch Alt

There are three township historical commissions on The Ridge that met for Christmas two years ago to share their work and ideas on their historical collections.

Larry Carter, Sparta Twp. Historical Commission, was so impressed with how interesting, productive and fun it was to share within this group, that he suggested they meet quarterly. It was unanimous, everyone agreed, getting together on a regular basis has been good for everyone involved.

For publicity, ladies of the Peach Ridge Growers Association would host a Smorgasbord to showcase their products. The late, former President G. R. Ford enjoyed a host of great dishes made from produce grown on “The Ridge”. Courtesy of Mary Rasch Alt

Having common goals and holding similar programs as neighboring townships, it was natural to work together. The Ridge Historical Consortium is dedicated to the preservation of the area’s history and culture.

Both Sparta and Wright Township commissioners have enjoyed being judges for the annual Best of West Michigan Maple Syrup contest with Alpine Twp. Historical Commission. Every April, Alpine Township invites area maple syrup producers to compete in taste and color of their maple syrup. Pancakes and this locally produced syrup is served to all who come to enjoy the competition.

Ebers family

Ebers family at the end of an apple harvest. Ebers lived on the border of Sparta and Alpine townships. Courtesy of Mary Rasch Alt

Last year, “Pathways in Western Michigan” was held to showcase Native American trails in this area. Some trees and stones can still be found that were used as markers in the early paths of west Michigan.

To contact any of these groups look to their web sites and Facebook for information:  |  |  |